Fox News and Fox Business developed a sudden yen for facts about the Smartmatic voting technology their Trumper hosts have claimed tanked the election for Dear Leader. None of the hosts explained that they have been threatened with lawsuits, nor did any retract their allegations after playing video that debunked them. Hosts Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo deliberately distanced themselves from the fact checks.
As I wrote on Crooks and Liars, Dobbs kicked off the effort Firday evening in what was little more than a ploy to do the bare minimum to avoid a serious threat of litigation. Instead of conducting his own interview, Dobbs aired a pre-recorded interview of an unidentified person interviewing an expert about Smartmatic. Dobbs described the interview as “reaching out” for an opinion:
DOBBS: There are lots of opinions about the integrity of the election, the irregularities of mail-in voting, of election voting machines and voting software. One of the companies is Smartmatic, and we reached out to one of the leading authorities on open source software for elections, Eddie Perez, for his insight and views. Eddie is the global director of tech development at the Open Source Election Technology Institute. We asked him for his assessment of Smartmatic and recent claims about the company.
Perez told viewers Smartmatic has no connection to the much-maligned Dominion voting technology, that its only connection to George Soros is that one executive has “some sort of relationship with one of Soros’ foundations, that no U.S. votes are tabulated in foreign countries, that Smartmatic technology was not banned in the U.S. and that it has no U.S. customers other than Los Angeles County, all in contradiction of claims made on Fox News.
The same package aired the next night on Justice with Judge Jeanine. Guest host Lisa Boothe made a similar introduction that presented Perez as part of an attempt to air all sides, with no mention of the threatened lawsuit:
BOOTHE: In our weeks-long look into election integrity, we’ve heard concerns about both voting machines and voting software, specifically a software company called Smartamatic [sic]. This week, we reached out to Eddie Perez for his insight. He is the global director of tech development at The Open Source Election Technology Institute. His team develops open source software for elections and we asked him what he knew about Smartamatic [sic] and the claims some have made about that company.
It aired again yesterday on Sunday Morning Futures, with host Maria Bartiromo repeating the same disingenuous introduction as Boothe’s (though Bartiromo got the Smartmatic name right). But Trump-worshiping Bartiromo made a point of questioning it. At the end of the Perez video, she said, “So that is where we stand right now. We will keep investigating.”
Fox was not exactly straight with Perez about the interview. From CNN’s Oliver Darcy:
Perez, who has a history providing insight to news organizations, told CNN on Saturday afternoon that the interview process with Fox was unusual. Perez said, for instance, that the network would not tell him which show the piece would be aired on and that he found it strange the interview was not conducted by an on-air reporter or host.
Perez also said that he was not made aware prior to the interview that the questions would be solely focused on Smartmatic.
"There was nothing in any of the preliminary conversations that I had with Fox News that gave me any indication that Smartmatic would be a matter of conversation," Perez said. "It was never mentioned that this was going to be a discussion about Smartmatic or even claims about private vendors. I was anticipating a broader discussion about the debate around the election, election integrity, so on and so forth."
Whether or not this half-a**ed effort on Fox’s part will satisfy Smartmatic remains to be seen. Darcy reported, “When asked for comment on the surreal news package Fox aired, Erik Connolly, an attorney for Smartmatic, told CNN, "We cannot comment due to potential litigation."
You can watch all three segments below, from the December 18, 2020 Lou Dobbs Tonight, the December 19, 2020 Justice with Judge Jeanine and the December 20, 2020 Sunday Morning Futures.